Bordeaux 2004 – 150 detailed notes

xThis is a report on my trip to Bordeaux for “en primeurs 2004” – the wine world’s very first chance to taste Bordeaux’s new vintage and report back to Bordeaux-lovers. Wine buyers and press from around the globe descended on the Gironde on April 4th 2005 for an intensive five days of tastings organised by region, and presented in the Châteaux.

Go straight to tasting notes:

Each year the Union des Grands Crus arranges huge tastings where all the wines of a region are gathered together in one of the Châteaux. I spent a full week in Bordeaux, and managed to taste in all the major communes, from Sauternes, to the Graves and into the Médoc, then crossing over the Gironde to the Right Bank, to taste Pomerol and St-Emilion. In all I tasted 150 wines, and full notes on each are given.

xThis was a packed few days, but an overall sense of the vintage emerged quite clearly. It must be remembered that these wines were still grapes on the vine less than six months ago; they are very far from the finished product that will appear in the bottles in another 18 months time. These notes are as honest as I can make them at this stage. All of the wines are deep in colour, tannic, and comparatively one-dimensional at this stage. What I was looking for was four basic things: 1) Fruit quality, 2) concentration 3) structure and – most importantly – 4) harmony and balance. The latter means that even given the young and tannic nature of the wines, there appears to be quality and sufficiency of fruit and acids to guarantee a positive evolution. I also searched hard for any nuances which suggested the wines had already a little complexity about them.

xIn general I found this to be a good to very good vintage. There is no lack of concentration here, and in many ways the trick has been to manage the high levels of extraction and tannins naturally present in this vintage. For me, the left bank is probably the star this year, particularly the wines of Pauillac and St-Julien. On the right bank, I was pleased to find the St-Emilions had a good deal of finesse – in previous vintages recently I have complained that the St Emilions were rather over-extracted as a group. Pomerol was also good this year – perhaps not quite so deep and lush as in some years, but well-balanced and delicious. In Sauternes the botrytis and sweetness levels varied greatly – all wines have very good sweetness thanks to late harvesting, but several display a lack of Botrytis and a slightly one-dimensional quality.

My tasting notes on 150 wines follow. In all cases I have given a score out of 100 for the wine, but please note: these scores come with all the caveats mentioned above, and I would like you to mentally bracket every score plus or minus a couple of points.

Graves and Pessac-Léognan

Yves Glories of the Faculty of Oenolgy in the University of Bordeaux has been involved in monitoring five reference vineyards in St-Emilion, Paulliac, Margaux, Graves and Entre-Deux-Mers for many years. The 2004 vintage has followed on from the most extreme drought vintage for decades, and they have been surprised by the fertility of the vines this year, perhaps in reaction to the stresses of 2003. Subsequently more grapes grew on heavier, larger bunches, so that despite severe crop thinning, yields are still quite high. M. Glories confirmed that it was the hot, dry spell of the 2004 Indian summer that saved this vintage, and concludes that the final balance of the grapes at harvest was “classic” with sugars and acids within norms. The most notable point about this vintage was the amount of extractable anthocyanins – double the levels of 2003 for most of the Médoc’s limestone plateau, and up 30% or more in Graves. The trick of handling this potentially huge phenolic extraction was to manage the tannins in the winemaking and, of course, to have enough fruit ripeness. Graves seemed to be of good quality. There are definitely some difficult wines that have succumbed to the vintage conditions in my opinion, with deficient fruit to balance tannins and extract, but some real successes too. The Graves of course is equally famous for its white wines, made from Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and sometimes Muscadelle. Here the wines are very successful overall, particularly those witha higher proportion of Semillon in my opinion. At this stage the wines have taken up very little oak influence from the barrels (they will have one more year in barrel).

Graves Blanc

Château de Chantegrive (Graves) 2004
Pale to medium yellow/green. Very fresh, lemon-scented nose. Lots of grassy notes, but quite delicate. Mouthfilling texture and good fruit: green fig and ripe pear notes, with lots of lemony acidity. Sweet, crisp pear is dominant through the mid-palate, with hints of herbs and a clean, fresh finish with delicate oak support. 87/100 Château Ferrande (Graves) 2004
Pale green/straw colour. Fresh, tanky pear drop nose. Minimal oak. Pear fruit. Rather neutral, clean orchard fruit flavours and plenty of acidity. Fresh and simple. 84/100

Château Rahoul (Graves) 2004
Pale green/gold colour. Hints of green fig and pear fruit, with a little oatmeally background. Fresh, pear and apple fruit on palate. Very crunchy and crisp, with a streak of grapefruit acidity. Quite fresh and tangy style, decent length. 86/100

Pessac-Léognan Blanc

Château Bouscaut (Pessac-Léognan) 2004
Quite a rich gold/green. Honey, vanilla and an exotic lychee note on the nose. Quite tangy and herbal. Rounded, waxy lime fruit beneath. Nice mouthfilling texture with lots of waxy, zesty lemon, a hint of passionfruit and more tropical lychee flavours, and a background of mealy, lightly honeyed fruit and oak. Far more intensity than previous wines. 89/100

Château Carbonnieux (Pessac-Léognan) 2004
Light, pale gold with lots of green. A subtle nose, with small almond and mealy notes, and lemon fruit. Crisp apple and lemon dominates the palate, with medium body and rather a neutral character. Slightly underpowered mid-palate, and a certain spiciness and touches of vanillin adding some depth to the finish, with a pithy acidity. 86/100

Domaine de Chevalier (Pessac-Léognan) 2004
Quite a pale, straw/gold flecked with green. The nose is quite powerful, with skin-contact notes of pear-skin and wax, and a certain richness. Some minerality too, and powerful pear fruit. Quite a mouthfilling texture, and an initial attack of lemony fruit. Underripe apple and cool melon notes on the mid-palate, with emerging spice and a gentle toastiness into the finish. Good concentration and intensity here. 90/100

Château de Fieuzal (Pessac-Léognan) 2004
Very pale green. Delicate pear drop notes, but hints of honeyed depth and ripeness beneath – all rather restrained at present. A nice weight of fruit on the palate, with a very delicate use of oak and a mealy, slightly nutty richness to basically crisp orchard fruits before a lovely core of mineral acidity. Spice and gentle toast of oak begins to bite in the finish, adding a warming undertone of vanilla. Beautifully made. 92/100

Château de France (Pessac-Léognan) 2004
Pale to medium green/gold. Clean pear fruit on the nose. Touches of green fig and a greengage fruit. Moderately-handled oak. Palate is quite restrained, with orchard fruits and a sour lemony fruit. Quite long and juicy, with a tang of grapefruit to the acidity, and again a spiciness and very gentle toastiness building on the finish. 89/100

Château Haut-Bergey (Pessac-Léognan) 2004
Very pale, very delicate green. More obvious oak on the nose at this stage, with sweet, creamy almond and vanillin notes overlaid on quite rich, fig and quince fruit. Lemon dominates the palate at present: lots of tang and verve and crispness, with just hints of a richer, leesy pear and pear skin character that is quite juicy. Lemon acidity overtakes again, with the oak nicely in the background adding spice and just a little weight. 90/100

Château La Louvière (Pessac-Léognan) 2004
A very pale, delicate green. Very closed, with minimal aromatics at this stage. The palate has lots of lemony fruit, with quite a tangy, waxy, lime quality building through the mid-palate, but it remains rather straightforward and citrussy. Oaky flavours show up as spice and a touch of toast in the finish, but all rather flat at present. 86/100

Château Larrivet-Haut-Brion (Pessac-Léognan) 2004
Pale yellow/green. Quite a deep, waxy lemon quality with a certain richness. Small notes of oatmeal and almond. The palate is quite full and rich, with lots of ripe pear and melon fruit, a delicate spiciness and quite a powerful, full mid-palate. There is good mineral and lemon-zest acidity in the finish, with warming notes of nutty, spicy oak. 92/100

Château Latour-Martillac (Pessac-Léognan) 2004
A very pale, delicate green. Quite rounded and lanolin rich on the nose, with sweet oak adding vanilla and cream over ripe orchard fruits. Cool, crisp apple and lemon on the palate, with a medium-body and quite rich texture. Lemon drives through the mid palate, and into the finish with only the most delicate touches of oak to round it out. A little spiciness does emerge, and this shows potential. 89/100

Château Malartic-Lagravière (Pessac-Léognan) 2004
Pale to medium yellow/green. Quite delicate pear and citrus aromas. Melon and dry, nutty notes beneath. Quite rich and round on the palate, with apple and pear fruit and again that dry melony note. Intense and quite powerful through the mid-palate, with a big core of lemony acidity, but quite fat and generous in a way, and just touches of the supporting oak. Very fine with good length. 91/100

Château Olivier (Pessac-Léognan) 2004
A very pale green. There’s a peachy, delicately tropical nuance on the nose here, and really ripe pear fruit. There’s a mealy, nutty quality beneath. On the palate quite a bold fruity quality, with great concentration and power though the mid-palate, that is mostly about zesty, waxy lemon at this stage, with pear-skin and bold, almost nettly notes adding interest. Huge lemony acidity in the finish, with spices and just the merest hint of toast at this stage. 93/100

Château Pape-Clément (Pessac-Léognan) 2004
Very cloudy pale yellow sample. Quite a fat, waxy, bold lemon fruit with cashew and crushed almond richness and hints of peachy fruit. On the palate there is plenty of power and concentration, with a grassy streak to full, but still lemony and crisp fruit with lots of weight and texture. Richness persists, and the finish develops fine nutty, toasty notes with lots of spice playing against the lemon zest. Great concentration. 94/100

Château Picque Caillou (Pessac-Léognan) 2004
Quite a deep golden yellow, tinged green. A touch neutral at first on the nose. Gentle nuttiness, and clean white fruit character with melon and apple to the fore. The palate continues with that orchard fruit character. It is slightly flat in the mid-palate, but an orangy, grapefruity tang is present in the background, and a sense of concentration builds with hints of figgy richness. The finish has good lemon acidity that is fresh and this has decent length. 90/100

Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte (Pessac-Léognan) 2004
Pale to medium yellow/green. A tiny hint of sulphur then a fairly neutral, lemony nose. Some leesy, oatmeal quality, but rather subdued. Similar story on the palate, where a nice mineral acidity is the most prominent feature, cutting straight through the core of this wine. The fruit is citrus and crisp apple, and the oak is very delicately handled. Tangy and fresh in the finish, this has good intensity and that minerality is striking, but the weight and depth is not as great as some. 90/100

Graves Rouge

Château de Chantegrive (Graves) 2004
Quite a dark colour, vibrant magenta rim. Cherry and vinous nose, with inky notes and a dry character. The palate has quite bold and assertive tannins with a dry, cherry skin fruit quality. Texture and richness is quite good, but perhaps slightly lacking fruit ripeness against a slightly too extracted finish. 86/100

Château Ferrande (Graves) 2004
Bold, rich, even dark crimson. Quite a similar nose, with perhaps a little more earthiness and touch more ripeness. Still rather dry and extracted, but there is more suppleness and sweetness to the fruit on the palate. There’s a curranty character and black cherry before bug dry tannins and quite juicy acidity in a reasonable finish. 88/100

Château Rahoul (Graves) 2004
Moderate to deep cherry colour. There’s a smokiness here, and a more mineral character coming through, with qite a rich core of red fruits. On the palate it is medium-bodied with a concentration of dry, slightly rustic and leathery red ruit and tannin, and lots of grip and persistence. Some bright cherry acidity lightens the finish. Good character here. 89/100

Pessac-Léognan Rouge

Château Bouscaut Pessac-Léognan 2004
Very dark crimson/black with magenta rim. Quite closed, but a polished, quite mineral quality over tight cherry fruit. The palate is smooth-textured and medium- to full, with a concentration of cherry and black fruits. There is really good sweetness of fruit here, playing against a plumskin and liquorice-edged extract and tannic core, with juicy cherry acidity extending the finish. 90/100

Château Carbonnieux Pessac-Léognan 2004
Bold, dramatically deep crimson. The most perfumed wine so far, with delicate floral and rose-hip notes over quite creamy red fruit. There’s a touch of minerality too. On the palate it is very dry, with medium body and tooth-coating tannins. The fruit is not quite as powerful or bright as the nose suggested, and is slightly weak through the mid-palate. Dry extract dominates the finish, though a little fruit sweetness reasserts. Suppport from oak also adds a little weight. 88/100

Domaine de Chevalier Pessac-Léognan 2004
A very opaque, deep crimson. Lovely depth on the nose, with a slightly gamy, earthy nuance over solid red fruits. Hints of a plummy depth. On the palate this has richness and structure, with a full texture and weight, and a very solid core of ripe red fruits. Concentration is fine, and there’s a really juicy, bold aspect to this. An underpinning support of gently toasty oak also fills-in on the mid-palate, and a juicy cherry acidity adds to the balance and harmony. 91/100

Château de Fieuzal Pessac-Léognan 2004
A very bold, dark crimson with lots of vibrancy on rim. Solid, dry, quite muscular and dense fruit on the nose that is a touch impenetrable at present. On the palate smooth and full, with a big tannic extract coating the palate, and that deep-set cherry and slightly inky fruit all shuttered by dry, assertive tannins and a spiciness. Quite a tough one to call at this stage. 90/100?

Château de France Pessac-Léognan 2004
Dark, vivid purple/black. Bright, violet-edged and bold cherry fruit with a kirsch-like quality. Palate is gripped by strapping, dense tannins and lots of inky extract at present. The fruit that is in there is obviously sweet and pure, but perhaps overpowerd by liquorice and plum-skin quality at the moment. But then that sweetness does persist, and spicy, toasty oak adds some breadth, so again potential evident. 90/100

Château Haut-Bailly Pessac-Léognan 2004
A very dark and vibrant crimson/black. There’s a coffee undertone to supple, very suave and sweet fruit here, with lots of charm and plump ripeness. A mineral character appears too in quite a complex picture. Lovely purity and fruit sweetness here, with a smooth, medium-bodied finesse and little herbal and mineral hints. Plenty of tannin, but it seems ripe and crisp rather than inky and dry, and along with an incisive cherry acidity, it completes a very harmonious picture. 93/100

Château Haut-Bergey Pessac-Léognan 2004
Dark, even crimson/black. More subdued than Haut-Bailly, with a similar rounded cherry fruit character, but not quite the same refined character. The palate has lovely weight and a nice rich texture, with sweet, rounded fruit quality and excellent ripeness, and a hint of chocolaty richness and depth. Coffe-ish, smoky oak and ripe tannins join a crisp cherry acidity in the finish. 91/100

Château La Louvière Pessac-Léognan 2004
Deep, bold crimson. There is a nice floral-edged aromatic to this wine, with solid red fruits beneath and a hint of toast or liquorice adding a darker edge. Quite nice fruit sweetness on the palate, though slightly fades away though the mid-palate as the tannins and dry extract takes over. It does retain some sweetness, but maybe just lacks a little flesh compared to some. 89/100

Château Larrivet-Haut-Brion Pessac-Léognan 2004
A touch of chocolate and cherry skin adds darkness to red fruits. Nuances of earthiness and a minerality are very pleasant. On the palate a sweet, smoky oak intermingles with quite sweet fruit to give quite a plump, ripe impression. Coffee and plummy notes are deep, and the tannins seem ripe here, with quite a fleshy, full finish and balanced acidity. 91/100

Château Latour-Martillac Pessac-Léognan 2004
Very deep crimson/black. Plummy and deep, with a cherry skin, slightly aromatic note and firm black fruit flavours. A touch of minerality and hint of smokiness add some complexity. The fruit on the palate seems quite modest, and there’s a dryness that allows tannins and extract to overpower slightly though the mid-palate, with a slightly inky quality and just glimpses of sweet-edged fruit. The oak is polished and rounded, and it has depth, but a worry that fruit is just slightly lacking? 89/100.

Château Malartic-Lagravière Pessac-Léognan 2004
Deep and very solid colour. Quite a nice aromatic nose, with kirsch and slightly jammy blackcurrant fruit, but good ripeness joined by sweet coffeeish oak and a hint of plummy depth. Tannins are bold and structured and this has good weight. Rather dry in the finish again, but some harmony here. 89/100

Château Olivier Pessac-Léognan 2004
Harmonious from the start here, with a rounded, sweet fruited character, a smoky, earthy quality and good fruit. There are hints of herbs and kirsch. On the palate thiere is a sweetness of fruit that is bold and quite creamy, with a raspberry and cherry quality and plenty of power through the mid-palate. Tanninsare ripe and supple, and join with a toasty, quite chocolaty oak and tannin quality and good but rounded acidity in a polished finish. 91/100

Château Pape-Clément Pessac-Léognan 2004
Dramatically aromatic here; far more floral, ripe, kirsch and violet red fruit character than other wines. Lovely cherry and chocolate depth too, with a wrapping of sweet oak. Harmonious palate; fine, luscious, full fruit that has h Flesh through the mid-palate, and a sweetness and persistence. Deep and chocolaty tannins are plush and supportive, with good espresso bean hints of oak and excellent balance. 94/100

Château Picque Caillou Pessac-Léognan 2004
There’s a smoky, slightly schisty quality here, with good red cherry fruit and nice fruit quality. On the palate there’s a slightly harsh element, but this has staying power if it is just a little underfruited. 87/100

Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte Pessac-Léognan 2004
Smoky and coffeeish aromas are very plush and rich, with good fruit and a very rounded, plummy character.. The quality here is very good, with a creamy texture and a fine drak ripeness. Good fruit on the palate and a lovely ripeness of tannins at last, with balance and power though very grippy and dark at this stage. 91/100

Haut-Médoc, St-Julien, Pauillac and St-Estèphe

The start of today’s tasting of the Médoc communes of St-Estephe, Pauillac and St Julien worried me a little, as with one or two exceptions there was an aggressive edge to several of the wines, with rather rustic, gripping tannins that somewhat overpowered the fruit.

But as the tasting progressed, leading from the Crus Bourgeois of the Haut-Médoc to the Grands Vins, the wines became (generally) more and more impressive. Whether this was because the terroir expressed itself better, or simply that the estates could practice – and did practice – better winemaking, is hard to say. Probably it is a combination of both, with the grand estates having the resources, equipment and money to select very carefully and to take steps during fermentation to control and monitor extraction. There are some really great wines in 2004 on the Left Bank, and many very good ones. I chatted to other very experienced international tasters who made it along to Latour and Las-Cases today, and they agreed that Latour is a classic and that Las-Cases has also made a great 2004.


Château Beaumont 2004
Very vibrant Magenta colour. Vinous, cherry and dry, polished wood on nose. Nice sweet fruit, with bold cherry and slightly lip-sticky, dry notes. Mouth-coating tannins, with a lot of dry extract and slightly inky feel. Good acidity and quite good length, though perhaps lacks a touch of elegance. 86-87/100

Château Belgrave 2004
Much blacker, more solid colour. Beautifully sweet, deep, ripe cassis and black plum nose; really quite aromatic with floral and cedary notes and a real suggestion of sweetness. The palate is smooth and quite full and flattering, with plenty of sweet fruit butting up against firm, dry, quite polished tannins that have a chocolaty feel, and plenty of bold, chewy acidity. Lots of weight and texture here, and an underpinning of oak, in a powerful, deep wine. 90/100

Château Camensac 2004
A very deep, saturated purple. Sweet cherry fruit on the nose, with a little sense of rose-hip and fragrant raspberry. On the palate this has a sweetness and quite a silky texture, but really dry, sweeping tannins overtake quickly, leaving the mouth dried and slightly inky, though the lingering impression of fruit is ripe and juicy. Acidity tingles on the tongue, and it has some richness, but again the dry extract is slightly overwhelming at this stage. 87/100

Château Cantemerle 5th Growth 2004
Deep and vivid purple colour. Bold, slightly inky cherry fruit on the nose, with hints of watercolour paint-box and some briary notes. Equally bold and fully extracted on the palate, with a big, grippy, cherry and plum-skin darkness of fruit, but there is a sweet element in there too, and an underpinning spice and cedaryness. This is quite massively dry, but has really good length and is full, spicy and resonant. 89/100

Château Citran 2004
Vivid, deep purple colour. Darker, less brightly-focused fruit qualities here, with a tobacco edge to plummy, warm berry fruits. There is a vanillin creaminess that is flattering. On the palate there is quite bold, dark, vivid cherry and plum fruit, wrapped in well-managed, chocolaty tannins and with a good plum-skin acidity. This has lots of richness and warmth, and is more approachable than some at this stage certainly. 88-89/100

Château Coufran 2004
A very deep, dark blackish crimson. Inky cherry fruited qualities, though this is quite closed, with a deep-set, muscular quality. Tannins have a rustic edge on the palate; a touch rough but ripe and powerful. There is a good quality of fruit again, and through the mid-palate some sweetness emerges. Spice and a brisk cherry acidity shows through on the finish, in a slightly less elegant, but powerful wine 87/100

Château Lamarque 2004
Intense, very opaque crimson/black. Bold and quite deep and resonant cherry fruit, with a little hint of a creamier, blackcurrant beneath. On the palate there’s a very nice coffee-infused, dark-roasted warmth to this, with obviously ripe fruit and plenty of body and suppleness through the mid-palate. Tannins are chocolaty and quite ripe and deep, with a punch of dry, cherry-skin acidity but also that warmth re-emerging with lots of spicy, toasty oak notes. 90/100

Château La Lagune 2004
Very dark and opaque, but vivid crimson/black. There’s a creaminess and sense of plushness here, with juicy cherry fruit and a suggestion of a creamy blackcurrant component. A little espresso coffee note in the mouth, with plummy fruit and plenty of dry extract, as ripe, quite sweet tannins coat the teeth. Cherry-skin acidity adds to that drying impression, with quite a full-textured finish where the fruit quality reasserts, layered in coffeeish, toasty oak. 90/100

Château La Tour Carnet 2004
Extremely dark black/crimson. Really quite closed, with a solid, tightly-wound depth that reveals little. Some glimpses of black plum and cherry fruit. Quite a profound, deep, solid character in the mouth, with full body and a huge, if rather monolithic core of dark fruit and coffeeish, warm and dark oak. This does have balance and lots of power and compact muscularity. 88/100

Château Malescasse 2004
Moderately dark and opaque purple/crimson. Quite earthy, smoky and toasty on the nose, with oak and earthier fruit suggesting berries and plum. Brighter on the palate, with a slick of vanillin over bold redcurrant and cherry. Big, dry tannic extract coats the mouth, and tingles with spice on the finish. Powerful, if a little rustic. 88/100


Château Beychevelle, 4th growth 2004
Moderately deep and very vibrant crimson. There’s a depth and solidity here, with hints of chocolate and espresso bean, and a warming core of autumnal berry fruits and spices. Very harmonious palate; the texture is quite silky, and there’s a sweet depth of fruit with cherry and deeper, juicy plum notes. Tannins here are fine and well-controlled, with a polished quality though plenty of grippy power. Acidity seems quite gentle, but it is sufficient and balances well with re-emerging coffee and toasty oak and spice in the finish. 90-91/100

Château Branaire-Ducru, 4th growth 2004
A very dark and solid crimson/black. Quite a powerful, dark edge of charcoally, black plum and plumskin fruit, quite resonant with cassis sweetness beneath and a spicy overlay. On the palate the texture is quite creamy and there is a mouthfilling rich sweetness to the fruit. There’s a solidity here, but very good ripeness. Coffee and chocolaty notes from wood and supple tannins provide powerful but not aggressive support, and a big spicy finish is matched by a seam of good acidity. Very harmonious. 92/100

Château Gruaud-Larose, 2nd growth 2004
A very, very dark blackish crimson. Very deep, resonant plum and blackcurrant fruit. There is a charcoally depth and edge and lots of cherry brightness too. Touches of black chocolate. Really sweet on the palate. Lovely rounded, supple, sweet berry fruit of great ripeness and quality. A slick of creamy-textured, supple tannins melds with the dramatically dark fruit and bold blackcuranty acidity in a long, very composed and elegant finish. Very complete and fruit well up to tannins. 94/100

Château Lagrange, 3rd growth 2004
Solid, opaque black/crimson. This is very tight, giving little beyond a sheen of composed, muscular, tightly-wound black fruit. On the palate there is a slightly inky, dry, charcoally concentration of tannins and plummy black fruit that is very drying and mouth-coating. Rich in texture, the depth and suppleness of fruit is submerged at present but it is there, and there is a pure core of cassis that is promising. 91/100

Château Langoa-Barton, 2nd growth 2004
Extremely dense and black colour. Correspondingly dense and dark nose, with blue/black fruit quality, a charcoally darkness and dryness and a touch of Indian ink. A lovely sweetness of fruit emerges on the palate; very supple, rounded, wrapped in a polished oaky quality but with deep black fruit at the core. The tannins here are very sweet and ripe, with a great chocolaty depth to them, in a balanced wine with real structure and length. 94/100

Château Léoville-Barton, 2nd growth 2004
Very deep, opaque crimson/black. Dark and sonorous nose, with lots of creaminess of blackcurrant, and a polished, slightly cedary old polished wood note. The palate displays very good sweetness of fruit. A deep, sweet, core of pure cassis drives through the mid-palate, with a medium-bodied but quite robust and full texture. That creaminess persists, and the polished tannins and very pure, clean acidity give a crispness to the finish. Spice and a touch of polished, coffeeish oak support. 93/100

Château Léoville-Poyferré, 2nd growth 2004
Almost black, with touch of crimson on rim. Similarly dark and creamy to Barton, with a core of black plum and blackcurrant fruit. There is a chocolaty quality on the nose here, that is seductive. Pure and dark, black fruits on the palate, with a big grip of dry tannin but obvious sweetness and ripeness beneath. This has a stylish, creaminess to the tannins, with plenty of spice and espresso richness, but with lovely cassis acidity and that chocolaty character, quite sumptuous. 94/100

Château Talbot, 4th growth 2004 Dark but quite vibrant crimson. Fragrant, much brighter cherry and raspberry character here. A nice creamy oak quality and plushness of fruit does give depth though. Wood is perhaps slightly more raw at this stage, with the fruit rather dominated and appearing lighter and less profound on the palate. With a lighter-toned but still powerful tannic structure, and a very dry cherry acidity, it doesn’t have the weight or richness of some, but has finesse. 90-91/100


Château Batailley 2004
Deep, glossy purple/black. A smoky warmth, almost nuttiness on the nose. Fruit is quite subdued. The palate is mellow and quite dark and composed, with a cherry and plumskin quality of bittersweet fruit, and a very dry tannic extract. There’s a juiciness about the cherry acidity, and it is quite harmonious, but the dryness of tannins and spicy, mellow oak on the finish rather dominate for now. 89-90/100.

Château Clerc-Milon 2004
Crimson/black and vivid colour. Quite a glossy, black, shiny quality of blackcurrant and ripe, black plum fruit on the nose, with just nuances of espresso bean and a tiny violetty hint. On the palate it is composed and pure, with masses of dark, slick, cherry and blackcurrant fruit sweetness and chocolaty, ripe tannins that stay supple and full through the mid-palate despite a mouth-coating quality. The quality of oak is lovely too, with more coffee and a toasty warmth and spice integrating well with the tannins and luxurious fruit. 92-93/100

Château Croizet-Bages, 5th growth 2004
Very solid blackish colour. Slightly Porty nose, with just a suggestion of volatility, but then a good quality of cherry and black fruits does emerge with some slightly vegetal nuances. On the palate it is rather dry, with a slightly meat-stocky character and very dry fruit that does emerge with more sweetness in the finish. The acidity is quite good, and it is not unbalanced, but somehow seems rather spiky and lacking a bit of cohesion at this stage. 88-89/100

Château d’Armailhac 2004
Intense deep crimson. Very fragrant; cherry and blackcurrant, with a lightness and floral edge, over some plummier notes and an almost kirsch-like ripeness. The palate is full, sweet and harmonious, with quite a fat, ripe red fruit quality and a smooth, silky texture. There’s a warmth to the oak and the polished, very refined tannins, which with a coffee note and quite a generous plumskin acidity gives a very inviting, approachable profile. There is good depth though, in a delicious style. 91/100

Château Grand-Puy-Ducasse, 5th growth 2004
Intense deep crimson. Cherry and raspberry qualities, with nuances of rose-hip and a leathery but very refined (not rustic) note. Lots of polish and aromatics. The palate is quite seamless and approachable, with a lovely core of sweet cherry and pure cassis fruit, and a mellow, chocolaty layering of oak. The tannins here are really supple and support without any aggressive tendency. Along with juicy, quite generous cherry acidity, this is a very successful G-P-D. 92/100

Château Haut-Bages-Libéral, 5th growth 2004
Very opaque crimson/black. Dark, polished, a touch cedary, with creamy black fruits and a core of supple plum. There is good fruit and fruit sweetness on the palate, with a rather dry tannic structure and orangy, drying acidity rather cutting it short at present. Oak is very lightly handled, and there is some elegance to this medium-bodied wine, but it lacks a little fruit depth in face of all that extraction. 89/100

Château Lynch-Bages, 5th growth 2004
Very deep crimson/black. Deep, sonorous, very composed nose with plummy fruit and a polished character. Lots of very black, plummy fruit with a supple, dark oak overlay. On the palate the oak is slightly raw at present, with a vanillin layer over cool, composed, very tight and shiny black fruit. Lovely sweetness and depth here, and the suppleness of tannins and bittersweet plumskin acidity gives depth and harmony. 93/100

Château Lynch-Moussas, 5th growth 2004
Rather dry on the nose, with a touch of inkiness to cherry skin fruit. There is a chocolate note and some cherry brightness. On the palate quite cool and classy, with nice sweetness of fruit, but also a toasty, rich underpinning. Chocolate and creamy bittersweetness rounds out the finish and there is good, spicy length. 90/100

Château Pichon-Longueville (Baron), 2nd growth 2004
Very dark, shiny crimson. There is an earthiness and dark, plummy quality here, with quite a nutty quality of fruit and some minerality. The palate has that same nutty character and a supple roundness of fruit. There is a bit of fruit sweetness lacking here, but I also suspect this sample is not the best. It has very dry structure and a sweetness does emerge. This has harmony without doubt but also quite a robust character that will become more supple. Second sample much sweeter and great length. Tentative score: 92-93/100

Château Pontet-Canet, 5th growth 2004
Very even, intense black colour. Muscular, solid, very dense nose. Rounded and very deep plummy fruit with a berry character and sweetness. Polished and deep wood notes add to a sense of darkness and richness. On the palate this has a delightful sweetness emerging. There is a really pure core of cassis and black cherry, and a mouthfilling weight of sweet, ripe tannins. Tannins here are beautifully managed, and the bite of cherry skin acidity adds lovely texture and clean grip. Long and harmonious, this is a little star. 93-94/100


Château Cos-Labory, 5th growth 2004
Vivid dark crimson. There is a little dry, inky charcoal note here, and very restrained, dry vinous fruit qualities. On the palate it has quite good, supple tannins that dry the mouth although the cherry and plum quality of fruit does have a sweetness. It has a slightly roughening, rustic quality to the tannins that is not unpleasant, and with cherry acidity the picture is quite grippy and robust. 88/100

Château Lafon-Rochet, 4th growth 2004
Very dense and deep colour. Lots of earthy, deep, sonorous fruit here, with an almost gamy quality that always shows through in this wine. Coffee and plummy fruit notes add lots of plumpness and weight. Creamy textured, this has a fine, bold and sweet fruit quality on the palate. There is depth and bittersweet stuffing, and with a bold, powerful, very grippy tannic quality pushing through against ripe blackberry-skin acidity, Lafon-Rochet has huge appeal this vintage. 94/100

Château Ormes de Pez, Cru Bourgeois 2004
Saturated, dense crimson. Bright cherry fruit, quite vinous with a dark, slightly inky quality. Bold fruit. There is a sweetness on the palate, and a harmonious sense of cherry fruit melding with generous cherry acidity and the tannins are very supple and polished. This is stylish and smooth-textured, with a very focused core of fruit, though perhaps is lacks just a touch of potential for real complexity at this stage. 90/100

Château Phélan-Ségur, Cru Bourgeois 2004
Very dense crimson. There are notes of espresso coffee and deep-set blackcurrant and plum fruit, with a certain composed, dark, muscularity. On the palate this is rich and chewy, with a dense texture and very muscular appeal; there is bite and a certain bittersweet roughness to the texture and the quality of bold, confident fruit. It is harmonious too, and the tannins have depth and a certain plush quality despite their power, in a long, balanced wine. A very good, powerful effort. 91/100.

Margaux, Moulis and Listrac

These southerly appelations of the Médoc have turned in a very solid performance. There are no wines here that “scored” quite as highly as the very best of Pauillac and St-Julien for me, but lots of very good wines and good consistency.

I found these wines all very dark and blackish in colour, without the purple tones of the northern Médoc. I think this is largely because Margaux, traditionally the lightest and most “feminine” appelation, has been doing a lot of work to get extra extraction and a slightly “bigger” style to suit a perceived requirement of the modern world market. In most cases this has been acheived very successfully in this vintage – the wines are fairly strapping and full for Margaux, but most have retained quite delicate aromatics and a sense of elegance. One or two are more obviously manipulated and quite un-Margaux-like in my opinion, but these are still good wines. There were only one or two disappointments from 30 wines tasted.


Château Brane-Cantenac, 2nd growth 2004
Very dark crimson. Immediate ripeness and harmony on the nose, with glossy blackcurrant fruit and a touch of chocolate. There’s just a slick of coffeeish oak beneath. The palate doesn’t quite deliver that quality of fruit at present, with a massive dry tannic extract coating the palate, and a savoury plumskin quality of bittersweet fruit just showing into the finish. There is plenty of spicy, toasty underpinning oak, and a really grippy finish where liquorice and a touch of charcoal play against hints of sweeter fruit. Good structure. 91/100.

Château Cantenac Brown, 3rd growth 2004
Quite inky cherry fruit, but then a fragrant note of violet and a touch of dark chocolate develops, really quite deep fruit. The palate is quite cool and elegant, with a medium-bodied finesse and a really solid core of cherry and blackcurrant fruit. Tannins are ripe, supple and quite chocolaty and a generous but vivid acidity adds to a clean, but very characterful finish with fruit sweetness and richness persisting. 92/100

Château d’Angludet, Cru Bourgeois 2004
Crimson chink of light on rim. Very ripe, light and fragrant nose, with lots of floral nuances, though an earthiness to the fruit. Quite rounded and supple on the palate, with a silky texture and medium body, and ripeness of fruit carries through well. Quite light, the tannins are very dry, but the overall effect is harmonious with a nice chocolaty richness cut by dry cherry acidity. An attractive, elegant wine. 89/100

Château Dauzac, 5th growth 2004
Very dark and opaque. Slightly inky, vinous nose, with a deep-set core of plum and blackcurrant emerging. Quite a good fruit depth here. Big, dry, chocolaty tannins coat the palate, but the fruit here is ripe and glossy, and it has a supple mid-palate appeal. Acidity does a gentle but good job of sharpening the finish as toasty oak notes and the sweetness of fruit persist. 88/100

Château du Tetre, 5th growth 2004
Very opaque and dark. Quite closed, with a dark blueberry and black cherry fruit, but very tight. Smooth, rich, very seamless core of silky black fruit on the palate. Smooth textured and glossy, with a ripeness of tannins that is powerful, but doesn’t ruffle the smooth, glossy black fruit quality. The finish is dry, and balanced by a nice dry acidity, and there is harmony here and ripeness. 89-90/100

Château Durfort Vivens, 2nd growth 2004
Very black. Quite meaty and meat-stocky on the nose, with rich, plummy fruit beneath. Quite fragrant, with a touch of floral character coming through. Quite a lot of vanillin oak on the palate here, and a very smooth, deep fruit character. Dry in the finish, with a big extract, it also has a chocolaty depth and roundness. 89/100

Château Ferrière, 3rd growth 2004
Vivid, deep purple/black. Fragrant nose, with floral scents and lightness and sweetness of blackcurrant and cherry. The palate here has a silkiness and full-bodied texture, with a very pure core of black fruit that runs through the mid-palate and into the finish. There is a dry, plum-skin grip of tannin and deeper fruit, and a very nice, crisp, lively acid structure. Quite long, and harmonious. 89/100

Château Giscours, 3rd growth 2004
Vivid dark crimson. Lots of red cherry and fragrant rose-hip and violet notes, with a nice underpinning of chocolate and touch of charry oak. The palate displays a bit of rather raw oak at present, and together with tough, incisive tannins gives a slightly aggressive character. There is a good quality of fruit, and the tannins become a little more chocolaty and yielding towards the finish as spice and warming oak pushes through. It is balanced by decent acidity, but a slight niggling worry remains about the firmness of this wine. I suspect it may well deserve a couple more points. In time. 90/100

Château Kirwan, 3rd growth 2004
Very dark crimson/black. Almost schisty, dark-edged plum and cherry skin qualities on the nose here. There is an espresso bean and chocolate depth and real vivid darkness. On the palate the tannins are quite assertive and roughening, with a plum-skin, palate coating dryness. Fruit is deep and dark, with plum and dark cherry skin fruit quality. Very dry, and again the tannins are overpowering, but this has balance as well as structure. 89-90/100

Château Labégorce, Cru Bourgeois 2004
Deep, vivid crimson. Touches of ox-tail and gamy fragrance here, and an earthy, solid character. Lovely sweetness of fruit as it strikes the palate, with a really sweet cassis note and broader, plummier underpinning. Tannins are powerful and perhaps a touch rustic, and there is a big core of acidity. Good structure here and lovely sweet fruit, though a touch more rustic than some. 88-89/100

Château Lascombes, 2nd growth 2004
Intense and opaque. Meaty again, with a meat-stock and gamy character, a polished, almost cedary oak quality, and then a bold black fruit emerges. Supple, rounded and very concentrated in the palate, there is a bittersweetness to this with plum and very unctuous black fruits against chocolaty tannins and that charry. espresso bean edge of wood. Good balance, and a deep, powerful, but harmonious wine. 91-92/100

Château Malescot-Saint-Exupéry, 3rd growth 2004
Very dark, purple rim. Nice fragrant cherry and kirsch nose. A touch of blue/black, deeper fruit and a compact, deep character. A very sweet quality of fruit persists on the palate, with a chocolaty sheen of smooth fruit and oak, and a silky texture. There’s a coffeeish note and more bitter chocolate character as it finishes, where the tannins are actually quite sweet and very well managed. 90/100

Château Marquis d’Alesme Becker, 3rd growth 2004
Blackish, light on rim. Darker, meatier aromas again here, with some earthiness and perhaps a touch of reduction. Palate is rather grainy and a touch inky, and though some sweet, cherry and plum fruit emerges, it remains rather grainy and dry into the finish. 87/100

Château Marquis-de-Terme, 4th growth 2004
Very deep, glossy black/crimson. Highly scented, floral, almost slightly volatile nose with sweet vanillin notes and lots of estery qualities. Rather marzipan new wood dominates the palate and along with firm tannins, makes this very dry. A cherry fruited sweetness and juiciness does battle through, and there is nice crisp acidity to balance, leaving this quite fresh. An unintegrated wine (even by these youthful standards) so difficult to judge, but a cautious 88-89/100

Château Monbrison, Cru Bourgeois 2004
Very bold and dark. Quite vinous, dark, a touch earthy, but closed and rather ungiving. Solid, muscular, dense and deep-set fruit quality that is very dark and plummy. Sweetening oak and roughening tannins join a good blackcurrant acidity to make a quite harmonious, but rather compact, foursquare wine. 87/100

Château Prieuré-Lichine, 4th growth 2004
Very, very dark and opaque. Tight and muscular on the nose, with a brooding, very closed character. A little glimpse of black plum and a ripe, sweet cassis does emerge with coaxing. Big, glossy, full chocolate and plum fruit and oak power through the mid-palate. Quite flashy and confident, with ripe tannins not managing to get on top of this one. Balanced, with a generous acidity but stays focused on deep-set plummy fruit and creamy oak. Very modern and a touch monolithic, but undeniably successful of its style and lovely fruit. 91-92/100

Château Rausan-Gassies, 2nd growth 2004
Vivid, intense but at last slightly lighter crimson/purple. Ripe black fruits, a touch of charcoal or mineral quality and some gamy fragrance. On the palate this is quite bold and juicy, with a real tang of lip-smacking cherry and bold blackcurrant fruit. Very concentrated and supple through the mid-palate, there is a sweetness here and a nice ripe tannic profile. Cherry acidity brightens and lifts the finish in a harmonious, well-made wine. 92/100.

Château Rausan-Ségla, 2nd growth 2004
Opaque, dark, but purple rim. Again a little minerality and a touch of schisty quality here. Very bold cassis fruit is ripe and pure, with a touch of floral lift and a little cedar. Smooth, composed, very elegant palate with a chocolaty concentration of cassis and plum fruit and a tooth-coating dry tannic structure. But the tannins are fine and supple, and the sweetness and depth of fruit persists through the mid-palate. This is a powerful wine, with good balance and already a nicely supportive framework of oak into the finish. 93/100.

Château Siran, Cru Bourgeois 2004
Dense, solid dark crimson. More subdued on the nose, with a gently meaty aroma and an earthy character. Just the merest hint of a cherry fruitiness. The big, dry, slightly rustic tannins grip this wine at this stage, with a bold cherry acidity adding to the palate drying effect. But there is quite a solidity to the fruit too through the mid-palate. Some black plum and a juicy cherry, with a meaty character too. Really rather a nice wine, with concentration and decent length. 88-89/100.


Château Chasse-Spleen 2004
Extremely dark, black and dense. Very deep, intense, black plum and kirsch-soaked black cherry fruit is dramatic. Very fruity. On the palate it is quite sleek and dark, with a slightly raisiny quality but lots of dark-edged bittersweet fruit and very firm, liquorice and plum depth. A lot of tannic extract here, and a dry floral, violetty aspect, but really there is a lot of complexity and finesse. 90/100

Château Maucaillou 2004
Also very dark blackish crimson. Creamier, more sweet and forward cassis fruit quality. Very attractive. On the palate a much lighter style, with pretty cherry fruit but rather light against a streak of tougher tannins. Good balance with fresh, dry acidity and decent length. Nice, and quite elegant, though a touch dry. 86/100

Château Poujeaux 2004
Extremely dark blackish colour. Rounded, quite fruity nose with a slightly more plummy fruit character. Sweet fruit on the palate, with a kirsch-like almost jammy edge before very dry, liquoricy tannins add a bittersweet edge. There is a savoury, supple quality to this though, and despite a raft of dry tannic extract it is well balanced and has potential. 88-89/100


Château Clarke 2004
Again, a very black colour with little crimson/purple. Slightly reduced nose, a touch dull. The palate has a big raft of very dry tannins and swamps the fruit. Perhaps not the best sample, but rather brutish. 84/100

Château Fonréaud 2004
A touch of crimson on the rim of another black wine. Quite toasty, with a charry edge of oak to quite soft, plummy fruit. Lots of sweetness on the palate, with a light, but silky texture, but somehow a little hollow through the mid-palate. Tannins and acidity are both moderate, but very noticeable, and there is a sweetness to the fruit, but perhaps a little too extracted and oaky. 86-87/100

Château Fourcas-Dupré 2004
Very dar, crimson at rim. Quite a nice plummy and cherry fragrance here, with sweet cassis notes and a hint of mint. Lovely sweetness on the palate; quite an elegant cherry fruitiness, though it is creamy-textured and full-bodied. There are powerful, dry tannins and very dark cherry acidity, but the fruit gives a bittersweet character that is appealing. 89/100

Château Fourcas-Hosten 2004
Very blackish colour again. Very dry, vinous and dark on the nose. Closed and dark, with a little plummy fruit. Quite earthy too. On the palate a rather raw edge of oak at first, and it remains rather dry and a touch inky, with Lots of extraction and dry cherry acidity overpowering the fruit. Again, there is some sweetness there, and a good rich texture, so perhaps will come good. 87/100


Château Greysac 2004
Crimson rim to blackish colour. Very attractive, lush blackcurrant fruit on the nose, with a suggestion of real ripeness. On the palate that sweet-edged, ripe blackcurrant pastille fruit quality comes through, and there’s a sweetness and sense of harmony through the mid-palate, though it lacks a little flesh. The tannins are quite ripe and supple, with a good balance and in-fill of coffeeish oak. Very attractive. 88-89/100

Château La Tour de By 2004
Very deep, opaque crimson/black. Quite earthy and gamy, with a slightly bloody fragrance but a touch reduced also. There is quite a nice rounded plum and earthy quality on the palate, with good ripeness and a chunky tannic quality adding a roughening edge. Balancing acidity is well-managed and this has a lot of charm and is attractive, if slightly more rustic than some. 87/100

St-Emilion and Pomerol


Château Cheval Blanc (St Emilion) Le Petit Cheval 2004
The second wine of Cheval Blanc. Very dark, opaque crimson. The nose is very dark and brooding at present – quite closed, with spices and an edge of cedar, but there is a really tightly-wound core of black fruit. On the palate it has good concentration, with a liquorice-edge of dark, firm cherry and blackcurrant fruit, some warming caramel and an elegance and freshness from brisk, tight tannins and a clean acidity. This does not have much flesh and weight at this stage, but lots of elegance and good fruit. 88/100

Château Cheval Blanc (St Emilion) Premier Grand Cru Classé 2004
Similarly opaque, dark colour though perhaps a touch more vibrant. This is also quite closed, though again there is a very pure core of glistening dark cherry, a real sense of ripe, almost sweet floral and kirsch nuance, and a softening overlay of crushed blackberry that begins to emerge from the glass. A background of cedar and a sheen of caramel suggests careful oak management. On the palate lovely purity and harmony; medium-bodied, certainly more flesh than the Petit Cheval even at this stage, and a complex spicy background of pepper and cardamom. The warm, caramel quality of the oak fills in on the finish, with an elegant acidity and good sense of purity. There is a real grip of tight, supple tannin. Good length. Perhaps lacking a bit of real fruit depth at this stage? 91/100.

Château Angélus Premier Grand Cru Classé 2004
Dramatically dark, vibrant, intense purple/black. Quite closed at present, but then a dramatically dark, tight, tightly-wound core of black cherry, dark chocolate and spice emerges. Immediately powerful impression. On the palate, a big, striking liquorice and dry black cherry and plum fruit floods over the tongue. It is medium-to full-bodied and has a real grippy, bitter edge of tight, muscular tannins that clamp down and coat the teeth. Lots of spice and a bitterness of dark chocolate add drama and texture into a long finish. Clearly well-structured and full of extract, but has a s Certain freshness and keenness too. 92/100

Château Balestard-La-Tonnelle, Grand Cru Classé 2004
Very dark crimson/black. Much more highly scented than the Angelus, with a red fruit appeal, lots of crushed raspberry and very bright cherry aromas, against a background of cedary spice. On the palate fine, rich, ripe fruit and masses of grip and tannic extract again. Medium-bodied, with a sweetness to the fruit before that tannic and cherry acid structure clamps down. Not quite the flesh and authority of the Angelus, but impressive. 90/100

Château Beau-Séjour-Bécot, Premier Grand Cru Classé 2004
Similarly dark and opaque. Crushed red berry fruits on the nose, with caramel and little hints of sandalwood. On the palate a flood of svelte, quite rounded and plump black cherry fruit, in a medium- to full-bodied format. Lovely richness in this wine, and a real glossy depth of liquorice, keen-edged fruit with lots of cherry-skin grip and acidity. A depth of chocolate and plum adds to the weight of this impressive wine. 92/100

Château Belair Premier Grand Cru Classé 2004
Vibrant purple rim to dark, opaque colour. There’s a caramel and toffee oak quality that lies over a dark, plush fruitiness. There are little aromatic hints of kirsch and cherry, but it is quite closed. Good fruit; quite bright and relatively jammy, with a medium-bodied texture and support of coffee and chocolaty oak. This has good balancing tannins and an orangy acidity, but is perhaps less intense and pure than some. 88/100 Château

Berliquet, Grand Cru Classé 2004
Dark, opaque crimson/black. Spices and sandalwood, with a caramel quality suggesting oak dominates at present. There’s a toffee-like warmth to this. On the palate the fruit comes forward, and is sweet and juicy, with lots of black cherry and crushed blackberry fruit. It is medium-bodied, and perhaps just lacks a little flesh and breadth through the mid-palate, though a certain sweet creaminess emerges and a bitter black cherry skin and plenty of dramatic spice and roughening plum skin tannins grips the finish. This could potentially improve over a score of 89/100.

Château Canon, Premier Grand Cru Classé 2004
Very dark, almost black and opaque. Huge, fragrant nose, loaded with kirsch and soaring floral-edged black fruit and creamy vanillin. Real depth and ripeness, with an almost eucalyptus quality of sweet fruit. Smooth, cool and very fruit-focused on the palate, this is medium- to full-bodied and has a very silky texture. A hedonistic style, with a massive core of very ripe fruit, smooth, silky tannins and cherry acidity adding grip. A chocolate, almost minty depth of fruit is impressive, and though this is stylistically very flashy and ripe, it also has structure. 91/100

Château Canon-la-Gaffelière, Grand Cru Classé 2004
Intense, deep purple/black. Lovely ripeness and fragrance, with floral notes of Parma violet and plenty of ripe cherry fruit. A nice earthy nuance and notes of caramel add depth. On the palate this is quite full-bodied and has a rich texture, with intense black fruits giving a crushed velvet weight and texture. Lots of fruit sweetness here, which melds with the rich texture and chocolaty tannins to give a lovely mouthfeel. Good structure, with a long, grippy finish. 92/100

Château Cap de Mourlin, Grand Cru Classé 2004
Very deep and vibrant colour. Rather vegetal, slightly stinky note detracts from a solid, but closed nose. This is perhaps not an entirely clean sample. Palate is thick and smoothly-textured, with a solid core of black fruit and plenty of grippy, edgy wood and dark plum-skin tannins and acidity. Mouth-coating and fully extracted, this is potentially better than my score of 87/100.

Château Dassault, Grand Cru Classé 2004
Vibrant crimson/black. Fragrant, wild cherry and blackcurrant fruit on the nose, with a layer of silky, vanillin oak and a warming core of coffee and sandalwood. The palate is impressively saturated with sweet-edged, cherry and crushed black berry fruits, a little earthy, truffly note and exotic hints of spices and very dark, blueberry bittersweetness. Thick, supple tannins coat the palate and there is good cherry acidity into a long finish. 91/100

Château Figeac, Premier Grand Cru Classé 2004
Black, with crimson at rim. Figeac has a darker, more warming nose of fudge-like and tobacco notes, with a plumy depth of fruit, chocolate and a milky richness before more smoky and cedary components take over. There’s real depth, with a smoky, quite gravelly edge to firm, weighty black fruit. The palate is creamy-textured and full, and the mid-palate has weight, sweetness and richness. Tannins and acidity are less aggressive than in many other wines, or are perhaps better integrated at this stage, in a very powerful, but harmonious and complete wine. 94/100

Château Clos Fourtet, Premier Grand Cru Classé 2004
Dark, vibrant crimson. Solid black fruit, but quite closed and tight, with a spiciness emerging. There is lovely fruit sweetness on the palate here, with a bold, juicy cherry and damson quality. It is pure and has a very solid core of fruit, with a wrapping of chocolaty, smooth tannins that coat the teeth and really dry this wine at present, but a nice sweetness that persists and plays against good cherry acidity to leave a balanced and long, pure finish. 90/100.

Château Franc-Mayne, Grand Cru Classé 2004
Very dark, solid colour. Mint and spicy edges suggest real ripeness and depth here, with a solid black fruit character with lots of black cherry and very sweet, almost raspberry forward fruit. There’s a floral note too, in an attractively bright profile. It has a smooth texture and quite full body, with a raft of sweet fruit against a smooth, chocolaty background. Quite lush and sumptuous, this is a plush style, with woodsmoke and spice supporting the finish, and the grippy tannins and fresh cherry acidity creeping up almost unnoticed. 92/100

Château Grand-Mayne, Grand Cru Classé 2004
Very deep and opaque. Silky, crushed blackberry and deep, ripe cherry nose. Lots of lift on this one, with floral notes and kirsch like qualities. There’s a dark chocolate background, but fruit is very sweet and powerful. Smooth, silky and medium bodied, with a raft of juicy, chewy black cherry and cherry skin fruit. A real plum skin bite to this wine, with an elegance and coolness to the core of fruit, but a dark, quite dramatic underpinning of liquoricy depth adding structure. Well-balanced, with spicy tannins and good acidity in the finish, but that aromatic quality of pure fruit persisting. 92/100

Château La Couspaude, Grand Cru Classé 2004
Very dark, slightly warmer crimson/ruby rim. Gently aromatic, with cherry fruit and a touch of chocolate, but quite subdued. A little touch of coffee and earthiness emerges. Bright and focused on the palate, this has good fruit, but there’s a dark, slightly earthy note that gives a warmth and certain rusticity. Very grippy, with firm, rasping tannins and a good acid base and lots of bitter plum and cherry-skin bite in the finish. Quite complex this. 90/100.

Château La Dominique, Grand Cru Classé 2004
The coffee and toasty oak dominates at first, in this very dark wine with a certain warmth to the colour. There is chocolate and a silky, plummy depth and a certain nuttiness that is hard to pin down. On the palate that smoky, toasty character continues, and the dark, soft, molten quality of dark fruit is subsumed in tobacco and toffee-flavoured oak. A liquorice and plum-skin tannic grip is powerful in the finish and there is good acidity, but perhaps not the freshness and elegance of the best here. 89/100

Château La Gaffelière, Premier Grand Cru Classé 2004
Very dark, very vibrant. There’s a really shiny, glossy, svelte dark cherry and Blackcurrant darkness on the nose here, especially compared to the previous wine, with a blue/black quality of fruit and bitter plum-skin depth. Silky and rich on the palate, this has a harmony about it, with the dark fruit flavours well-melded with smooth and solid, but grippy, edgy tannins that have some liquorice and burnt toast grip and definition. Acidity is good but quite gently positioned, leaving the smooth, full fruit to dominate the finish. 91/100

Château La Tour Figeac, Grand Cru Classé 2004
Very solid, dark and opaque. Caramel on the nose, with a silky impression that is chocolaty and deep, with a supple, quite tightly-wound core of fruit beneath. On the palate this has a silky, smooth blueberry and ripe, juicy black cherry fruit quality, with masses of extract and bitter plum depth. There is a solidity about the tannins too, with a muscular concentration and grip of spicy, dark wood in the finish. The cherry-skin acidity is well judges, in a long and harmonious wine. 91/100

Château Larcis-Ducasse, Grand Cru Classé 2004
Raspberry and crushed, quite jammy blackberry fruit dominates the nose of this very dark, crimson/black wine. There’s a sheen of vanilla and a chocolaty coating of smooth, very dense black fruit that is harmonious and attractive. On the palate there is a fine, smooth, elegant balance, with a silky texture and medium- to full-bodied weight. A liquorice and bitter plum depth begins to grip, and there is good support from tight, supple and very polished tannins. Without the depth of complexity of the best here, this was nevertheless most impressive. 91/100.

Château Larmande, Grand Cru Classé 2004
Very intense, vibrant purple/crimson. Lovely aromatics here; crushed raspberry and floral notes with a gentle hint of herbs and pot-pourri. On the palate a brightness and focus, with raspberry and cherry fruit quality in a medium-bodied, quite crisp format. There is fine sweetness of fruit, and a certain schisty, earthy quality, before a firm edge of tight, supple tannins and bold acidity grips. Nice freshness into the long finish. Lovely wine and 90/100.

Château Pavie-Macquin 2004
Dark and opaque with a vibrant purple rim. A certain smooth, custardy quality of oak at first, with sweet, silky black fruit beneath. The palate has round, sweet, and very juicy black cherry and plum fruit that is bold and forward. The pure core of fruit is wrapped in a shiny coating of vanilla, with edgy, tight tannins and drying acidity adding complexity. Smooth and creamy in the finish, this is an attractive and open style and has lovely fruit quality. 90/100

Château Troplong-Mondot, Grand Cru Classé 2004
Very opaque with a bold purple rim. Little notes of coffee and chocolate are layered over a bold, intense dark fruit core, with blackcurrant and berries, and a minty ripeness evident. Smooth-textured and quite full, the core of fruit here shimmers through the mid-palate, with a big backbone of bold, drying tannins sweeping in behind adding a dusty dryness, and subtle but persistent acidity. The sweet, rounded quality of fruit hangs in on the finish, in a very stylish wine. 91/100

Château Trottevielle 2004
Intense, deep colour with a ruby tinge to rim. There’s a subtle incense note to the nose, with some cedary oak over composed, tightly-wound red and black fruits. Smooth, creamy oak dominates the medium- to full-bodied palate at first, with a dramatically dark core of cherry and plum fruit, that is deep and sonorous, wrapped in a sheen of vanilla and with a liquoricy bite on the finish. The tannins are supple but grippy and dry, and this wine has a harmony and good, smooth, length. 92/100.


Château Beauregard 2004
Bold dark colour with purple rim. Big, dark, coffee and chocolate nose, with a meatiness and supple dark plum richness. There’s fine grip and a keen-edged cherry and liquorice depth on the palate, with very bold, assertive fruit and displaying a certain wild, herbal quality but plenty of glossy, black power. Tannins are edgy and liquoricy, with lots of tight, chicory-like grip and crisp cherry-skin acidity. Lovely bold, confident stuff. 92/100

Château La Cabanne 2004
Dark crimson/black, though marginally less opaque than some. More tight and closed on the nose, with a clamped-down, quite muscular quality. Dark cherry fruit is slow to emerge. On the palate a very solid style, with a firm, tight core of black fruits and a liquorice and very compact, black plum skin grip of tannins and acids. Not quite the attractive openness and vigour of the Beauregard, but very powerful and should improve. 89/100

Château La Conseillante 2004Sweet fudge-like notes of caramel and toffee oak are present, with little floral, violet and intense blue/black fruit notes emerging. On the palate that custardy quality of oak is layered over the fruit at present, with a dark, bold, bittersweetness of chocolate and intense blueberry fruit beneath. Grippy and intense, this has lots of concentration and a solidity to the fruit that is very appealing. Good structure too, in an impressive package. 92/100

Château Clinet 2004
Particularly opaque and solid black colour. Clinet is very closed and tight at present. It has a shiny, black carapace with just hints of espresso and plum emerging. On the palate it has a smooth, full-bodied weight and texture, with an extremely plush, dense core of bittersweet black fruits. There is real concentration and depth here, with plumskin and massive, liquoricy tannins that spread over and coat the teeth and mouth. Dark espresso and damson fruit supports and a fine acidity into a long, harmonious but very muscular and tightly wound finish. 93/100

Château Vieux Certain 2004
Dense and black with just crimson on rim. Intense, fragrant, blue-black crushed fruit quality with a little spice and kirsch-like cherry notes. On the palate there is a real sweet intensity of fruit, with a bold, assertive quality of blackcurrant and ripe, sweet plum and glossy, deep, rounded character. There is a harmony about this wine, with grippy, polished tannins well integrated with a dark, cedary oak quality and a gentle but incisive cut of acidity freshening the finish. A generous suggestion of chocolate and juicy plum is the parting suggestion in a very elegant, powerful wine. 92/100

Château L’Evangile 2004
Toasty, coffee-ish oak dominates the nose of this very solid, blackish coloured wine at first. That coffee aroma begins to give way to solid, ripe and substantial black fruit, but it remains dark and rich, with a muscular structure rather than fruity intensity. The palate is supple and rich, with a bold, full texture and a raft of dark, creamy black fruit flavour backed up by that solidly dark, toasty and espresso-bean oak. There is lovely grip and fullness here, and an orangy acidity adds lots of crisp elegance on the finish. Great potential. 93/100

Château Gazin 2004
Very dark crimson. The nose is fairly closed, with an earthy quality and gently spiciness, over compact, glossy black fruit. The palate is quite rich and supple, with a nice sweetness of fruit emerging, with lots of glossy black berries that are quite generous and rounded, with a wrapping of chocolaty, deep tannins and fruit depth. Dry, grippy oak and tannin dominates into the finish, but the balance is good and this is stylish and composed with a latent sweetness of fruit. 91/100

Château La Croix de Gay 2004
A very dark and solid colour with a chocolaty, dark and glossy richness on the nose. Black cherry and dark, glossy berries dominate, backed up by some supple, smooth oak. Lovely fruit sweetness on the palate, with an espresso and bitter chocolate smoothness and depth, a dense fruit quality and lots of bitter plum skin and cherry grip. Supple and concentrated, the acidity is good and this retains lots of freshness into the finish. 91/100

Château La Pointe 2004
Very opaque and dark, crimson rim. Harmonious and generous nose with a layering of coffee and toasty oak over ripe, dense, shiny black fruit. There’s a cedary quality, but a very ripe and compact, glossy character of black fruit. Very full and smooth on the palate, this has a tight, full ,very composed structure with an obvious quality of sweet black fruit and well-rounded, supple tannins and acidity. 91/100

Château Petit-Village 2004
Quite a bright crimson quality to the colour here. Fresh, quite bright more raspberry-like quality to the fruit here. There are nice aromatics, with hints of exotic sandalwood and plenty of floral and cherry nuances. Nice kirsch like components too. Supple, cherry fruited palate with again harmony and elegance to the fruit with out the blockbuster extraction of some others. Dry, elegant tannins are forceful in the finish, and balancing cherry acidity adds a lift. Scores well on elegance and harmony. 91/100

Sauternes and Barsac

Yquem is now owned by Louis Vuitton-Moet-Hennessey (LVMH) and the Comte de Lur Saluces has gone. There is a massive restoration of the Château underway, and for the first time ever we are invited to tasted Yquem at the same time as all the other Sauternes, which means of course it is not a finished wine, but one that has at least one more year in barrel.

Yquem’s notes on Sauternes say that early indications from June 2004 were of a potentially very large crop, following an early summer of almost unbroken sunshine. However August was described as “almost tropical”, with rain 2 days out of 3, and small pockets of early rot having to be eliminated. Conditions for noble rot did arrive by early September, as the weather once again became warm, dry and sunny. At Yquem the first picking took place September 20 – 23, with reported excellent fruit and high sugar levels. Six picking at Yquem ended on the 4th November, and the 4th and 5th “tries” following perfectly dry, hot months of late September and October, meant the overall vintage should be highly rated. Yquem has 129g/l of residual sugar, 4.8g/l of acidity and 13.5% alcohol. 25 wines were tasted. Yquem was tasted at the Château, then all others were tasted blind at Château de Malle on Monday April 4th. As a summary, I think this is a good to very good Sauternes vintage. The best wines display good Botrytis and real complexity, and there seems to have been no problem with ripeness – the wines are almost universally sweet and luscious, with very rich textures. But an overall theme seems to be a slight lack of complexity in many wines, and Botrytis that doesn’t deliver the real unctuous blast that one might hope for. Balance and acidity is good, and many of these are delicious, with real concentration, late-harvest sweetness and weight, but missing that final complexity that would make them “great”. If prices are sensible, a very decent vintage to buy, and concentration suggests these will age.

Sauternes and Barsac

Château d’Yquem (Sauternes) 2004
Luscious mid-gold colour. Beautifully limpid and pure nose of dried apricot, a gently figgy toastiness, and lots of very lightly caramelised orange fruit. Exudes a creamy quality on the nose. On the palate there is full, luscious weight, with a terrifically oily texture, and intense fig and concentrated dried fruit flavours. There’s a freshness and ripeness suggesting pieneapple and really ripe mango, but a lovely core of tea-leaf, tobacco and herbs that adds massively to the complexity. Acidity seems very well integrated and stays gently in the background, but it really persists in the finish and plays against the concentrated apricot and nectarine skin concentration of fruit. With fabulous length, this looks like a very good Yquem in the making, and along with Rieussec, my wine of the vintage. 94/100.

Château Suau (Suaternes) 2004
Medium yellow gold. Quite subdued on the nose, with a gentle nectarine and apricot fruitiness, some light botrytis and light woody notes. On the palate it is thick and unctuous and quite alcoholic and heady. There is a rich, thick fruit sweetness and a background of nutty, almond flavour, before that rich, concentrated and powerful finish. 88/100

Château Romer du Hayot (Sauternes) 2004
Brilliant glowing gold colour. More botrytis, with rich, lightly honeyed fig and apricot fruit, and a nice twist of barley-sugar. On the palate this is ripe, full and unctuous, with lots of honeyed, full botrytis and opulent fruit flavours. There is lovely acidity here, providing a real lemony, almost grapefruity cut. A lot more drama than the previous wine, though perhaps not quite the length or concentration. 88/100

Château Bastor Lamontagne (Sauternes) 2004
Light gold, tinged green. Not a lot of botrytis at this stage, with a green fig character and some pear fruit. Quite clean and a touch ungiving at this stage. The palate has a medium- to full-bodied texture and a fairly cool, pear and melon fruit quality. It is cool and fairly light, with good concentration, but perhaps lacking a little unctuousness. 87/100

Château Caillou (Sauternes) 2004
Pale- to medium green/gold. Green fig and herbal, slightly nutty aromas. Little botrytis notes and quite solid fruit. The palate has a thick, viscose texture, and a very nice balance of minty, ripe, very pure pear and apricot fruit and hints of nectarine and pineapple richness. There’s a great cutting sweep of lemon that cuts through the honey and nutty richness, to leave a very clean, long, tantalising finish. 90/100

Château Lamothe Guignard (Sauternes) 2004
Nice glowing gold colour. Lots of toast and nutty, warm and rich aromas with a sense of opulent fruit beneath. Some delicate hints of tea-leaf and herbs. Palate has a fine, rich, very honeyed character, with masses of thick, oily fruit that coats the tongue, and a buttery, full and very sweet unctuous quality. Masses of depth here, and a lovely knife-edge core of mineral and lemon acidity that gives excellent length. A delicate yet fully botrytised style. 91/100

Château Lamothe Despujols (Sauternes) 2004
Brilliant yellow, slightly cloudy sample. A nice nutty, ripe fig and dried apricot character. Voluptuous palate, with lots of pineapple and very rich, sweet nectarine and mango. Real powerhouse stuff, but good balance too, with masses of honeyed botrytis and a prcise, powerful core of concentrated lemon acidity. 91/100

Château Filhot (Sauternes) 2004
Brilliant yellow/gold. Honey and toast notes are quite delicate, but dominate the nose at present. There is a green tea and Chinese herbal note too. That herbal, greengage and a yellow plum fruit quality is joined by decent botrytis on the palate, with notes of toast and a delicate lemon acidity. 88/100.

Château de Malle (Sauternes) 2004
Pale- to medium yellow/green and a little cloudy. Richly honeyed and buttered crumpet nose, with quite fat, ripe fruit and a concentrated dried apricot and lemon peel firmness. Very full, rich, botrytis palate, flooded with unctuous honey and laden with sweet, juicy ripe nectarine and very ripe pear fruit. Delicious balance, with a supporting breadth of toasty, vanillin oak, and good levels of citrus and mineral acidity adding to a classy, very composed finish. 92/100

Château Doisy Vedrines (Barsac) 2004
Lovely light gold, tinged emerald. Little complex notes of stewed compote fruit, tea and iodine. Some nice honeyed notes, and clean pear fruit. This has a very fine palate; it is immediately unctuous and sweet, with full-texture and very ripe tropical fruit, with lots of pineapple and syrupy mandarin orange bite. But the warmth and creamy support of vanilla and cocoa bean, plus a striking, waxy lemon core completes a fine, complex but balanced and stylish wine. 91/100

Château de Myrat (Barsac) 2004
Bold, solid yellow colour. Powerful, full, honey and ripe apricot nose, with hints of dried fruits and apricot kernal. Less weight and richness on the palate, but fine, sweet fruit and a pineapple and juicy nectarine sense of ripeness and sweetness. There is a lot of honey and limpid, sweet richness, but all with a light-body and crispness about the texture. Good balance, with clean acidity but the sweetness and richness of fruit persists. Lovely in a lighter style. 90/100

Château Doisy Daëne (Barsac) 2004
Greenish yellow colour, and a slightly subdued, vanilla and pear-fruited nose, with some hints of tea and tobacco. Another slightly lighter style (though perhaps more weight than wine 10) with emerging honey notes and a real minty, almost Jack Daniels grip of rather raw oak on the palate at present. There is plenty of rich, sweet, orange and very ripe pear and melon fruit, and a great solid core of minral acidity which, along with citrus elements in the wine, gives a powerful finish. This would seem to have a lot of potential. 91/100

Château d’Arche (Sauternes) 2004
Warm yellow/gold with an emerald tinge. Slightly leafy, fairly subdued pear and apple fruit, with white fruit purity and just hints of honey. Very focused, sweet, precise fruit quality on the medium- to full-bodied, rich palate, with a real focus of tangy, lime and ripe, very sweet pear fruit driving through the core in a creamy, vanillin-edged push. There is good freshness and precision throughout, though maybe not so many nuances as other wines at this stage. 89/100

Château de Fargues (Sauternes) 2004
Vibrant yellow/green. This is fairly subdued, fairly neutral at this stage. White fruits and hints of nettle and herbs, and the lightest touch of honey. Mdium- to full-bodied and richly textured, this has plenty of sweetness, with a big, central core of honeyed, ripe very unctuous fruit, that is very fat and juicy. There’s a tantalising, tongue tingling acidity, and a vanillin richness fills in, and this has plenty of power with a real edge of concentration. It lacks a little complexity at present, but has masses of personality. 90/100

Château Nairac (Barsac) 2004
Light yellow/gold, tinge of green. Green fig, passionfruit and waxy lime dominate the nose, with hints of a barley-sugar botrytis. On the palate it is quite rich and unctuous, with a mouthfilling, oily texture and rich core of nectarine and ripe, juicy peach fruit. That slightly green, fig and herbal quality adds and edge, and this has very good concentration. The lemony acidity cuts nicely through into a long finish, where delicate creamy wood notes underpin the fruit. Nicely balanced. 89/100

Château Rayne-Vigneau (Sauternes) 2004
There’s a definite botrytis richness on the nose here, with fig and quince and a coating of honey. On the palate the immediate impression is thick and rich-textured, but dominated by creamy vanillin oak. An intense, very concentrated, almost minty quality of super-sweet fruit beneath adds a real edge of richness and concentration, with lush fruit qualities, but also a very natural fruit acidity like grapefruit and tart orange, that adds a lot of edge to the extremely powerful, concentrated finish. 91/100

Château Siglas Rabaud (Sauternes) 2004
Bold yellow, tinged green. Elegant, full, yellow plum and ripe peach fruit on the nose, with some dried apricot and little tea-like, dried glace fruit notes. Thick-textured and very unctuous, there is a real shimmering core of fruit sweetness and concentration here. Very powerful and very concentrated, but also has that firm, plum skin and tangerine skin bite of acidity and concentrated power. Very long, this has subtle vanilla and almond notes filling out the finish. Very stylish. 91/100

Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey (Sauternes) 2004
Brilliant yellow colour. Limpid, honeyed, very elegant nose, with gentle tea-life and quince nuances to a core of fig and ripe pear fruit. Lovely precision on the palate, with poised, mandarin orange and cool, melon and pear fruit, but a lovely buttery underpinning of cream and honey and voluptuous fruit sweetness. There is a medium-to -full texture here, and though it is rich, there’s a sense of elegance and lightness, with crisp mineral clean, lemony acidity and just a background of vanilla. 91/100

Château Rabaud Promis (Sauternes) 2004
Pale to medium green/gold. Herbs and gentle toast dominate the nose here, with a pungent, slightly leafy, nettly quality beneath and lightly honeyed white fruits. The palate is sweet and rich, with a medium- to full texture and rich, fig and apricot richness of fruit, with just hints of honey and barley sugar boytrtis. There’s a nice orange marmalade quality that shows through in this wine, that fills outs and becomes very bold on the mid-palate, with a lovely balancing acid into a long finish. 89/100

Château Coutet (Barsac) 2004
Bold, bright yellow colour. There’s a deepness about this wine on the nose, with plenty of oak, but also a slightly vegetal, dark, toffee and unctuous peach fruit. Bold and concentrated on the palate too, with plenty of rich fruit, but perhaps a little less clean, a little less precise than others, with a tiny rotten note that is not totally convincing for me. I am certain this was a bad sample, but must score only 85/100

Château Guiraud (Sauternes) 2004
Very vibrant, quite deep gold. Herbs, wild flowers and sweet pear fruit give a very attractive complexity on the nose. On the palate vanilla and very sweet dried fruit qualities, but pretty one-dimensional, with a great, concentrated core of nettly, pungent pear fruit adding some complexity, but a lemony acidity sweeps in forcefully onto the finish. Good length, and very difficult one to call, but for now 88/100

Château Suduiraut (Sauternes) 2004
Bright yellow colour. Refined honey and gentle peach nose, with modest nutty and toasty notes. A sense of harmony. The palate has lots of pear and succulent apricot and juicy nectarine, with super richness and sweetness, but perhaps missing a little real complexity. Lovely bite, lovely racy acidity extending the finish, but shows this vintage’s slight lack of botrytis complexity perhaps? 89-90/100

Château Clos Haut Peyraguey (Sauternes) 2004
Quite a light gold colour. Nice toasty, smoky, warm woodiness to this with caramel and deep, orange and honeyed quince fruit. The palate has warmth and a nutty richness too, in a medium- to -full-bodied palate with a good, rich texture. The fruit is clean and bright, with lots of waxy lemon and lemon-drop, and a precise apricot and peach sweetness. Herbs and a touch of tea-leaf and nettle add more complexity to this and the finish is long. 91/100

Château La Tour Blanche (Sauternes) 2004
Vibrant yellow/gold. Richly honeyed, with barely sugar and toffee notes over orange and dried apricot fruit. Small herbal nuances. Lovely sweetness on the palate, with a rich texture and medium- to -full bodied weight. Lovely tang of bright orange and marmalade fruit, with finely-wrought oak adding cream and vanillin nuances and plenty of ripe fruit at its core. A very stylish and composed with good concentration. 90-91/100

Château Rieussec (Sauternes) 2004
Brilliant yellow, tinged green. Quite delicate, orange and tea-leaf notes with some dried herbs and sweet, marzipan notes. Very good central core of nectarine fruit. On the palate this is unctuous and very full-textured. The fruit is rounded and very tangy, with lots of verve and sweetness. Apricot, tangerine and small tropical notes along with some nettle and tea. Lovely acidity completes a balanced and harmonious picture, though there is plenty of concentration and good length here too. 93/100.